America has made amazing strides in medical research and innovation in the past 15 years. Scientists have completed mapping the sequence of the entire human genome, patients are recovering faster from minimally invasive surgeries, and babies are being treated for life-threatening conditions before they are even born.
These strides are remarkable, but for all of us who have lost loved ones to incurable diseases, we know we must do better.
Believe it or not, cures for diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer may be right around the corner. But, as a number of Ohio doctors, patients, and families have told me, there are a lot of roadblocks—a long approval process, unnecessary paperwork and a tangled mess of bureaucracy—between advancing medical research and translating discoveries into treatments.
Recently, the House passed a bipartisan solution called the 21st Century Cures Act to eliminate these roadblocks and advance treatments for the thousands of diseases with no known cures. Keeping our promise to focus on the people’s priorities, this initiative reflects the best ideas from listening sessions with doctors, patients, researchers, medical innovators, and advocates from across the country.
First, the 21st Century Cures Act aims to secure America’s standing as a leader in medical innovation. Where we stand now, we are at risk of falling behind as red-tape and inefficient regulations slow the development of new drugs and therapies. In fact, it takes 15 years for a new drug to move from the lab to the local pharmacy. The 21st Century Cures Act fixes this by breaking down barriers, cutting red-tape, and making it easier to bring safe and effective treatments to patients more quickly.
In addition, the 21st Century Cures Act opens the door for more targeted clinical trials and personalized medicine. These two initiatives will help bring innovative treatment solutions to patients—solutions that address the unique challenges of such a diverse population. It does so by reducing the administrative burden of setting up new trials and makes it easier to recruit the right candidates for these trials. Furthermore, by supporting more personalized medicine, researchers will be able to tailor trials to specific patient groups and zero in on the treatments that are working for those with certain characteristics.
In short, our solution keeps the focus on patients and brings American medical innovation into the 21st Century. To ensure we achieve this goal, the 21st Century Cures Act invests in medical research and prioritizes spending where it is needed most. And, it does so in a way that is fully paid for and saves taxpayer dollars in the long run.
As one Ohioan told me, this initiative is her “definition of hope.” For families like hers, who are holding out hope for new cures, they shouldn’t have to wait any longer. The next medical breakthrough and cure could be discovered right here in our state. With the 21st Century Cures Act, our goal is to empower our innovators and doctors—not just for hope, but for real life-saving solutions.